Central Park 5: New Film On How Police Abuse, Media Frenzy Led to Jailing Innocent Teens 2/2
An explosive new documentary looks at a case once referred to as “the crime of the century”: the Central Park Five. Many people have heard about the case — but far too few know that innocent men were imprisoned as a result. The film tells the story of how five black and Latino teenagers were arrested in 1989 for beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park.
Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty, and used racially coded terms like “wolf pack” to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years.
New York City is refusing to settle a decade-long civil lawsuit brought by the men. And now, lawyers for the city are seeking access to footage gathered for the new film. We speak to one of the Central Park five, Raymond Santana, filmmaker Sarah Burns, and journalist Natalie Byfield.